This blog will be based on the following statement: the travel agent cannot have success without co-innovation with customers. Co-creation encourages more involvement of the customer to create a value-rich experience and it is a business strategy which focuses on customer experience and interactive relationships (Business Dictionary, n.d.). Co-innovation is a certain type of co-creation which focuses on improving existing products together with the customers. This will create or improve a relationship of a travel agent together with the customer. Then coming back to the statement of the blog, is it true that travel agents cannot have success without co-innovation with customers? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Let’s kick it off with an example of how a travel agent can use co-innovation together with his customers. The travel agent used for this example is Expedia (Expedia, n.d.). The travel agent Expedia offers flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, other accommodation types or a combination of these. An example of which co-innovation would be applicable is that Expedia creates an online contest on their website and promotes it via Facebook. The contest would be about an existing product of Expedia and the question is what the customers would change about it to innovate it. From the contestants, a top three will be chosen and sold in real life by Expedia, as well as that the contestant will win this product which they have been innovating together.
What could be the disadvantages of co-innovation? It is a lot of work and takes a lot of time to have a look at each contestant at the beginning and to choose a contestant. Afterwards, the travel agent will need to have meetings with the customer to discuss how they exactly can innovate the product. Another disadvantage could be that the travel agent has trouble with cooperating with a customer since they might believe in their own expertise.
On the other hand, there are advantages about co-innovation as well. When having an online contest, it will lead to a lot of publicity which can reach new customers. As well as it creates a relationship between the customers and the travel agent since they feel like they are heard. Especially with the customers who win the contest since they win the product for free and will have a bigger chance to be loyal to the travel agent in the future. The last advantage is that via this contest, products may be innovated with the knowledge of customers of which the travel agent might not have thought of.
Overall, the success of a travel agent will definitely be bigger with co-innovation, by involving the customers, when comparing the disadvantages to the advantages of this issue.
Business Dictionary (n.d.) Co-creation. Retrieved on October 3rd, 2018, from, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/co-creation.html
Expedia (n.d.) Retrieved on October 3rd, 2018, from, https://www.expedia.nl/?semcid=NL.B.GOOGLE.BT-c-NL.GENERIC&semdtl=a1957936685.b150376373351.r1.g1kwd-13402846.i1.d1227509559178.e1c.j19064559.k1.f11t1.n1.l1g.h1e.m1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxO_2nO3q3QIV1OF3Ch0ljg99EAAYASAAEgIgWfD_BwE
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Second Edition: Customer relationship management. Harlow: Pearson Education